Campo de’ Fiori: Beyond the Piazza
Piazzas have always been one of the great delights of the European city, distinguishing its layout from other urban plans. These squares replace the American or English concept of a high street, providing an often enchanting leisure and social space for pedestrians. Important churches accompany most of the piazzas in Rome, including Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Navona and Piazza del Popolo. Piazza Campo de’ Fiori, however, stands out as a churchless piazza, historically based around trade and commerce instead. Its lack of a religious structure is reinforced by the looming statue of Giordano Bruno at its center. Known in the 17th century for his “anti-clerical” ideas, which held innovations in cosmology and astrology over Christian doctrine, Bruno was burned at the stake for heresy right in this very square.
Nowadays, Campo de’ Fiori is a lively hub for socializing and shopping. During the day, the piazza is home to one of Rome’s many food markets. In the evenings, it transforms, attracting tourists and university students. The piazza isn’t the only place worth exploring, though: medieval streets now lined with artisan shops and bars spider out from Campo in different directions. Many of these streets were originally named for the trades that were once performed in this area. Among these, be sure to visit Via dei Cappellari (named for hat makers), Via dei Chiavari (named for key makers) and Via dei Giubbonari (named for coat makers).